Hong Kong snuff out Lankan hopes with 41-10 win
- Asian 5 Nations Rugby Championship
Hong Kong demonstrated their vast superiority over Sri Lanka when they easily breezed past the hosts 41-10 in their key rugby encounter on Saturday at the picturesque Race Course Rugby Grounds in Colombo.
Hong Kong scored their points through 4 goals, 2 tries and a penalty to which Sri Lanka replied with a goal and a penalty. Hong Kong led 29-0 at half time.
The win provided Sri Lankan rugby fans with a reality check and quickly snuffed out the slim hopes of Sri Lanka somehow qualifying for the Rugby World Cup in 2015 as Asia’s third best team. Hong Kong is ranked 26th in the world and Sri Lanka is 39th.
The top three teams in Asia qualify for the World tournament and Japan are already streets ahead of their rivals in the region and South Korea – who began their campaign with a 59-3 trouncing of Sri Lanka last week -looked to have sewn up the second place. Hong Kong now appear to be the most likely third team from Asia in the World event.
The visitors did not take long to settle down and began a wave of attacking moves with forwards and the back lines engaging in a strong display of power rugby. The hosts were clearly rattled and began to commit more errors and their set-pieces were a disaster. Hong Kong scored three goals, a try and a penalty in the first half and the hosts failed to put any points on the board.
The Sri Lankans gave a better display in the second half and managed to restrict their opponents to only 12 more points to which the hosts too responded with 10 in a more closely contested half.
Despite having the advantage as hosts of the game with strong support from a partisan crowd the Lankans were never allowed to settle down into any sort of rhythm. There was an expectation that Sri Lanka, in a bid to bolster their chances, would include a couple of Fijian players who were qualified to represent Sri Lanka but this move appeared to have hit a snag because the Fijians did not take the field on Saturday.
Sri Lanka’s next game in the tournament is an away game against Japan and they end their campaign with another home game when they take on Philippines in Colombo on 17 May.